A topical medication is a medication that is applied to a particular place on the body. Most often the topical route of administration means application to the top of body surfaces such as the skin or mucous membranes to treat conditions using creams, foams, gels, lotions and ointments. …
A topical medication is a medication that is applied to a particular place on the body. Most often the topical route of administration means application to the top of body surfaces such as the skin or mucous membranes to treat conditions using creams, foams, gels, lotions and ointments.
Applying medication to the skin or mucous membranes allows it to enter the body from there. Medication applied in this way is known as topical medication. It can also be used to treat pain or other problems in specific parts of the body.
Topical medication can also be used to nourish the skin and protect it from harm. Some topical medications are used for local treatment, and some are meant to affect the whole body after being absorbed through the skin.
When we apply topical medication to our own body, we do so on the advice of a doctor, pharmacist or by following the pack instructions, however when we are applying topical medication to a service user’s body, there is much more to think about. During this bitesize module, we will cover what needs taken into consideration:
- before administering topical medication, including storing topical medication safely, directions on prescription labels, gaining consent and checking contraindications;
- during the administration of topical medication, such as how to practically administer topical medication whilst maintaining dignity and reducing any infection control risks;
- after the administration topical medication, including monitoring side effects, how to document it correctly and what to do if you notice an adverse effect.
This module should be completed by anyone who is assisting service users to administer topical medication. It covers the theory of administering prescribed creams, lotions, shampoos, foams, ointments, powders. It will also cover instilled medication, such as eye drops and ear drops. The application of Transdermal Patches is covered in the Medication Administration module.
This course only covers the theory of topical medication administration. Whilst we will focus on two common medication types (emollients and corticosteroids), the principles can be applied to all topical medication. We recommend that anyone who is administering topical medication as part of their job role also completes practical training in the workplace and has a written record of assessment of competence before practicing unsupervised. Remember to also always follow your organisation’s Policy and Procedure on Medication Administration and training.
There are two abbreviations that will be used throughout this module:
- MAR Medication Administration Record
- TMAR Topical Medication Administration Record.
Some organisations have both MARs and TMARs, others record everything on the MAR, if you are unsure what is used in your workplace, refer to your medication policy.
We envisage that this course will take approximately 30-40 minutes to complete.